On Saturday I went to two fests! Yes, two. First, I went the Lakeshore Arts Festival held along the lakefront. It’s amazing to see how a place can be transformed from the everyday appearance. The tents were situated around the pond and this time, Evanston decided to put the music stage at the base of the pond.
I strolled through and saw all of the magnificent artwork such as paintings of fireflies, ink etchings, hand-crafted clothes, jewelry to wood cut pieces. The wood cuts were as small as coasters for only $3.00 to large chess boards with all of the pieces which were probably priced in the hundreds. There were so many choices.
I simply browsed and when I heard a group come on stage, I sat on the lawn along with many others. This was an acoustic blues duet from the Mississippi Delta. I read the line-up and saw that they were Donna Herula and Tony Nardiello. She played a slide guitar and he played both guitar and harmonica. They played and sang such tunes as “Gonna Move to Kansas City,” and “What is the Soul of a Man?” I enjoyed listening to them and later read on-line that they are a husband and wife team.
The people were very quiet and peaceful as they moved from one tent to the next. It was a serene atmosphere and there was a light breeze on that picture perfect day. People were making purchases and walking away with smiling faces and new wares in hand. After the group finished entertaining us, I got up and walked to my car in an unhurried pace. Though I made no purchases, I still left feeling a sense of calm and delight.
The other fest was the Gospel Fest. As I walked up, I snapped a picture of the sign. This was a first for me and I had a feeling that this was also going to be a fulfilling event. When I reached the stage area, there was a youth choir singing on the outside tarmac. They were standing on temporary bleachers and had on red tee shirts which read Camp Tag-Along. They were filled with energy as they sang and quite cute!
I stood for the first hour and swayed to the music. Neither the standing nor the sun bothered me because the music was so uplifting. The Master of Ceremonies had a wonderful sense of humor and he kept us laughing between performances. He often joined in and sang with the choirs as well.
After standing for about an hour, I noticed that more chairs had been added. I took a seat because I was not ready to leave. More church choirs took to the stage and some of the youth sang and did praise dancing. One little group of girls did their mime to the Kirk Franklin’s Imagine Me. Half of their faces were painted white to match their white tutus. They did a memorable and animated performance.
I ended up staying at the Gospel Fest for two hours. The singers ministered to us by raising their voices in song. One soloist Ms.Tina Bennett sang and she brought us to tears. I was later able to touch her hand and let her know how much her beautiful voice meant to me.
On my way out, I ordered some barbecue to take home. But just as I was about to go, I heard a group singing Hezekiah Walker’s Every Praise. I could not leave yet so I lingered and listened with my barbecue in hand until they finished! Then, I went on to my car feeling satisfied. Two festivals in one day! What a gift!
Lynn M. August 2, 2015